Last week Google made a new change in the way that your business is seen online by creating Google Plus Local. In a push to encourage more users to engage with Google Plus, they got rid of Google Places and replaced it with Google Plus Local. Google Plus Local pages will function much like Google Places pages, but come with a set of changes.
The biggest change is the integration of the social interface. Users can “+1” a page, share it with their friends, etc just as they could with your Google + business page. The review system has also changed to something that I believe is for the better. Goolge has incorporated Zagat’s review system into Google + Local to give users a clear, concise picture of what others think of your business. Zagat uses a point system and pulls clear sections from the various reviews , so that users don’t have to scroll through pages to get a feel for popular opinion. I personally feel like this will make the review system a lot nicer and will help businesses who are trying to solicit reviews from their customers.
There is also a map search function for users to search locally. This serach function is influenced by the user’s previous searches and the actions of people in their circles. GooglePlacesHelp.Blogspot.com Says:
To make all of this substantially more interesting, any and all of these searches will be effected by your own previous searches, and if you are using Google +, it will also have social signals from those who are in your Google + Circles. In other words, when a consumer does a search for Italian Restaurant, they will get a result that is skewed by any previous actions you have taken relevant to the search for Italian Restaurants, and if one of your friends has visited an Italian Restaurant and reviewed same, that will also show up in your search.
Your Plus Local page will still show up in the search engines. You will soon begin (if you haven’t already) seeing Google Places pages getting integrated into Google + local pages. We’re sure to see more changes as this big push occurs, so check back to stay updated.